The History of Westervelt High School
Westervelt (population approximately 150) is located in south-central Illinois in north-central Shelby County. Westervelt sits about 20 miles south (and a little east) of Decatur. Westervelt is located in a true country setting on County Road 1525 East at County Road 1800 North. Illinois Route 128 passes about 2 miles to the east of town. The town is about five blocks wide and four blocks long. The Union Pacific Railroad has tracks that pass through Westervelt. It is likely that the railroad was a major influence in the early development and location of Westervelt.
More research is needed on the history of Westervelt and its former school system. Our guess is that Westervelt was established in the late 1800s. Gerry Halpin adds this bit of history regarding the town of Westervelt; “The town is likely named for Dr. L. C. Westervelt, an early Shelby County physician. There is still a post office and grain elevator in town, also still going strong is the Westervelt Christian Church, a Greek Revival building that was named to the National Register of Historic Places in February 2006.”
A school was likely established at the same time. High school curriculum was probably put in place in the early 1900s. The high school district for Westervelt High was District 189. This was almost certainly a 2 or 3 year high school.
We believe that Westervelt High School was closed in 1948. A high school reunion article from 1994 stated that alumni from 1924 through 1948 would be honored. Another article states there was a senior class at Westervelt High School. It appears that the Westervelt school building continued in use as a grade school for the Shelbyville School District until it was closed in 1975. Westervelt students continue their education in nearby Shelbyville.
As you can tell by the photos taken in 2010 by Dennis Downey, the Westervelt High School building has been razed. All that remains is the wonderfully constructed gymnasium, still standing majestically in town.
Westervelt High School Quick Facts
Year opened: late 1800s / early 1900s
Year closed: 1948
Consolidated to: Shelbyville High School
Westervelt HS team nickname: “Reds”
Westervelt HS team colors: Red & White
School Fight Song: unavailable